|Publication number||US6886101 B2|
|Application number||US 10/283,434|
|Publication date||Apr 26, 2005|
|Filing date||Oct 30, 2002|
|Priority date||Oct 30, 2002|
|Also published as||US20040088295, WO2004042614A1|
|Publication number||10283434, 283434, US 6886101 B2, US 6886101B2, US-B2-6886101, US6886101 B2, US6886101B2|
|Inventors||Elliott Glazer, Fred Bishop|
|Original Assignee||American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (24), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (74), Classifications (14), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention generally relates to privacy data. More specifically, the present invention relates to a system and method for monitoring and controlling how privacy data is collected, assembled, and used.
With the recent popularization of the Internet, electronic commerce has become more and more commonplace. When entering into an electronic transaction, individuals often provide various items of privacy data to a web site such as demographic data and/or personal financial data (e.g., credit card information). Unfortunately, individuals do not have sufficient ability to monitor and/or control how their privacy data is collected, assembled, or used.
Unfortunately, the privacy data provided by an individual to a web site or other entity can be misused, either intentionally or unintentionally. For example, the privacy data may be disseminated to third parties without the user's consent or knowledge. In addition, the user's privacy data may be provided inaccurately without the individual's knowledge. For example, the individual's old address may be stored by the web site such that the wrong address is associated with the individual. This incorrect address may then be used and/or distributed by the web site without the individual's knowledge.
In an exemplary embodiment, the present invention includes a privacy service system that allows a user to self audit their privacy data. The system tracks all privacy data including the collection, use and dissemination of privacy data. The system collects privacy data from various sources including the consumer and third party entities. The system stores the privacy data in a suitable database and permits the user to perform a self audit of the privacy data. The data may be stored in a centralized database or in databases that are distributed.
In one embodiment of the present invention, the privacy service system comprises a database for storing the privacy data, a registration module configured to register the user for the privacy service, a tracking module configured to track access to the privacy data, and an audit module configured to allow the user to audit the privacy data.
A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description when considered in connection with the Figures, where like reference numbers refer to similar elements throughout the Figures, and:
According to various embodiments of the invention, the shortcomings of the prior art are overcome by providing for a privacy service system that facilitates monitoring and/or controlling how privacy data is collected, assembled, and/or used. Consumers may use the privacy service system to self-audit their privacy data so that they can track how the information is collected and/or disseminated. As used in this description, consumers may include any user, individual, small business, corporation, government entity, software application, and the like.
The present system and method provides a valuable service because consumers will be able to use the system to obtain a desired level of privacy for their demographic data, financial data and any other type of data that may be provided to third party entities. Moreover, service providers and other third party entities will be able to share the privacy data as long as the sharing is allowed by the consumer's privacy specifications. In addition, consumers will be able to self-audit how their privacy data is used and consumers will be able to evaluate the impact of changing their privacy specifications.
The present invention may be described herein in terms of functional block components, screen shots, optional selections and various processing steps. It should be appreciated that such functional blocks may be realized by any number of hardware and/or software components configured to perform the specified functions. For example, the present invention may employ various integrated circuit components, e.g., memory elements, processing elements, logic elements, look-up tables, and the like, which may carry out a variety of functions under the control of one or more microprocessors or other control devices. Similarly, the software elements of the present invention may be implemented with any programming or scripting language such as C, C++, Java, COBOL, assembler, PERL, extensible markup language (XML), and Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET, with the various algorithms being implemented with any combination of data structures, objects, processes, routines or other programming elements. Further, it should be noted that the present invention might employ any number of conventional techniques for data transmission, signaling, data processing, network control, and the like. For a basic introduction of cryptography and network security, the following may be helpful references: (1) “Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, And Source Code In C,” by Bruce Schneier, published by John Wiley & Sons (second edition, 1996); (2) “Java Cryptography” by Jonathan Knudson, published by O'Reilly & Associates (1998); (3) “Cryptography & Network Security: Principles & Practice” by William Stalling, published by Prentice Hall; all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
It should be appreciated that the particular implementations shown and described herein are illustrative of the invention and its best mode and are not intended to otherwise limit the scope of the present invention in any way. Indeed, for the sake of brevity, conventional data networking, application development and other functional aspects of the systems (and components of the individual operating components of the systems) may not be described in detail herein. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures contained herein are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. It should be noted that many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical electronic transaction system.
As will be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art, the present invention may be embodied as a method, a data processing system, a device for data processing, and/or a computer program product. Accordingly, the present invention may take the form of an entirely software embodiment, an entirely hardware embodiment, or an embodiment combining aspects of both software and hardware. Furthermore, the present invention may take the form of a computer program product on a computer-readable storage medium having computer-readable program code means embodied in the storage medium. Any suitable computer-readable storage medium may be utilized, including hard disks, CD-ROM, optical storage devices, magnetic storage devices, ROM, flash RAM, and/or the like.
The present invention is described herein with reference to screen shots, block diagrams and flowchart illustrations of methods, apparatus (e.g., systems), and computer program products according to various aspects of the invention. It will be understood that each functional block of the block diagrams and the flowchart illustrations, and combinations of functional blocks in the block diagrams and flowchart illustrations, respectively, can be implemented by computer program instructions. These computer program instructions may be loaded onto a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data processing apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions which execute on the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus create means for implementing the functions specified in the flowchart block or blocks.
These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer-readable memory that can direct a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored in the computer-readable memory produce an article of manufacture including instruction means which implement the function specified in the flowchart block or blocks. The computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer or other programmable data processing apparatus to cause a series of operational steps to be performed on the computer or other programmable apparatus to produce a computer-implemented process such that the instructions which execute on the computer or other programmable apparatus provide steps for implementing the functions specified in the flowchart block or blocks.
Accordingly, functional blocks of the block diagrams and flowchart illustrations support combinations of means for performing the specified functions, combinations of steps for performing the specified functions, and program instruction means for performing the specified functions. It will also be understood that each functional block of the block diagrams and flowchart illustrations, and combinations of functional blocks in the block diagrams and flowchart illustrations, can be implemented by either special purpose hardware-based computer systems which perform the specified functions or steps, or suitable combinations of special purpose hardware and computer instructions.
As discussed above, a need exists for a system that provides individuals and other entities such as corporations (collectively referred to as “consumers ” as defined above) with the ability to monitor and/or control how their privacy data is collected, assembled, and/or used. Privacy data may include any data provided by the consumer, another consumer, entity or other source (e.g., web-site) wherein the privacy data may comprise any data such as demographic data, financial data, corporate data, and the like. Examples of demographic data include, but are not limited to, name, social security number, street address, e-mail address, phone numbers, age, sex, marital status, number of dependents, education, religion, race, and/or the like. Examples of financial data include, but are not limited to, credit card information, bank account information, salary information, occupation, and/or the like. Examples of corporate data include the corporate name, employee names, salary data for employees, and the like. Other examples of privacy data include, but are not limited to, public certificates, cryptographic keys, merchant relationships, biometric information, hobbies, work experience, vehicle information, vacation information, and/or the like.
In general, consumers may participate in the system of the present invention in many different fashions. For example, consumers may participate in the privacy service system when shopping on the Internet, for example, at the web-site of a particular merchant or service provider. Alternatively, the privacy service system may be accessed as a stand-alone system that is accessible in any suitable matter such as locally, over a computer network, over a wireless network, via the Internet (e.g., through an independent web-site), or in a variety of other methods.
For example, with reference to
When participating in the privacy service system for the first time, the consumer may be requested to register with the system and provide demographic data such as name, address, phone numbers, age, and the like. Different combinations of demographic data may be required or optional upon registration in various embodiments of the present invention. The registration data of the consumer may be stored in a database or other suitable storage mechanism such as a computer flat file for later retrieval. It is also possible that this data may be obtained, in whole or in part, by the consumer's previous registration with a third party entity such as a service provider or a partner of the service provider. Optionally, it may be necessary for the consumer to provide their approval before the previously provided data may be used by the privacy service system.
Third party entities such as service providers (e.g., merchants) 570 and companies 580 may participate in the privacy service by registering with the system or otherwise providing their intent to participate in the privacy service. Alternatively, each third party entity may have their own privacy service that operates independently or in alliance with the privacy services of other entities. In a further alternative embodiment, a third party entity may form an alliance with other entities to create their own privacy service. In addition, an alliance of privacy services may share data, or portions of data, such that the data from one privacy service is available to the other privacy services in the alliance.
When a consumer provides privacy data to a third party entity that participates in the privacy service, the third party entity may provide the privacy data to the privacy service for storage. The privacy data may be transmitted to the privacy service in any suitable matter. For example, the privacy data may be transmitted, via network 560, to the privacy service as soon as it is received by the third party entity. Alternatively, the privacy data may be transmitted at a later time in a batch transfer operation.
In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the privacy data may be stored by the third party entity (for example, service provider 570 or company 580 illustrated in
In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, third party entities may be classified by level in a tree-like organization. For example, with reference to
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, changes to the privacy data may be tracked and later accessed by the consumer. For example, privacy data may be corrected or updated by the consumer or by another entity. Information about the privacy data changes may be stored such as the source of the updated or inserted privacy data elements.
By providing the capability to disseminate updated privacy information to third parties, the privacy service system allows consumers to change data at one location and to then disseminate the updated data to various entities that need or use the updated information. Optionally, in exchange for the consumers paying a fee, the privacy service system may automatically notify designated third parties about the updated privacy information. For example, if the consumer updates their address, the privacy service (optionally in exchange for a fee) provides the consumer with the capability to automatically notify designated third parties, such as the consumer's credit card companies, with the updated address.
Similarly, the privacy service system provides a centralized location or contact point for various entities to request all or some privacy data for a particular consumer. For example, a government agency such as the FBI may have controlled access to use the privacy service system to request privacy data for a particular consumer. It will be appreciated that this provides a controlled and centralized access point for third parties to request privacy data.
Consumers may use the privacy service system of the present invention to allow or disallow dissemination of privacy data to any entity for a certain amount of monetary or non-monetary reward. For example, consumers may allow dissemination of a certain class of privacy data for a certain amount of reward, and for an additional amount of reward the consumer may authorize the dissemination of even more privacy data. Finally, the consumer may specify that certain privacy data should never be released for any amount of reward.
Database 110 may be located in a centralized location and operated by an independent entity. Alternatively, database 110 may be distributed in various locations. For example, each third party entity may maintain their own database (e.g., see databases 112 and 114 in
System 100 may include a host server or other computing systems including a processor for processing digital data, a memory coupled to said processor for storing digital data, an input digitizer coupled to the processor for inputting digital data, an application program stored in said memory and accessible by said processor for directing processing of digital data by said processor, a display coupled to the processor and memory for displaying information derived from digital data processed by said processor and a plurality of databases, said databases including client data, merchant data, financial institution data and/or like data that could be used in association with the present invention. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, user computer will typically include an operating system (e.g., Windows NT, 95/98/2000, Linux, Solaris, Windows XP, etc.) as well as various conventional support software and drivers typically associated with computers. User computer can be in a home or business environment with access to a network. In an exemplary embodiment, access is through the Internet through a commercially-available web-browser software package.
Communication between consumers, third party entities, other users, and system 100 of the present invention is accomplished through any suitable communication means, such as, for example, a telephone network, Intranet, Internet, point of interaction device (point of sale device, personal digital assistant, cellular phone, kiosk, etc.), online communications, off-line communications, wireless communications, and/or the like. One skilled in the art will also appreciate that, for security reasons, any databases, systems, or components of the present invention may consist of any combination of databases or components at a single location or at multiple locations, wherein each database or system includes any of various suitable security features, such as firewalls, access codes, encryption, de-encryption, compression, decompression, and/or the like.
In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, privacy service system 100 may provide a suitable website or other Internet-based graphical user interface which is accessible by consumers and other users of the system. In another embodiment of the present invention, privacy service system 100 may be accessible via a website that is operated by a third party entity such as a merchant who sells goods and/or services on the Internet. In further alternate embodiments of the present invention, privacy service system 100 may be available through the graphical user interface of a software application that may be accessed over a computer network, through voice prompts for a VRU, through customer agents (e.g., over the telephone or in person), and the like.
With continued reference to
Tracking module 130 comprises any hardware and/or software suitably configured to receive information, process information, store information in database 110, and/or interact with the other components of system 100. In one embodiment, tracking module 130 may receive privacy data from a third party entity wherein a consumer provided the privacy data. If the consumer is registered with privacy service system 100, tracking module 130 may update database 110 and/or the audit log available for the consumer with information about the third party entity and the received privacy data. If the consumer is not registered with the privacy service system, tracking module 130 may create a new database record in database 110 and store the privacy data in the new database record. Tracking module 130 may interact with registration module 120 to register the new consumer with privacy service system 100. Tracking module 130 may interact with many other logs of privacy service system 100, such as error logs, transaction logs, security logs, system logs, and the like.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, tracking module 130 may receive tracking information regarding the use or dissemination of privacy data for a consumer. This information may be provided by, for example, a third party entity such as a banking institution who disseminates privacy data to another service provider such as a brokerage. The tracking information may include information such as the sender of the privacy data, the receiver of the privacy data, and the content of the privacy data that was disseminated. It will be appreciated that this is just one example of tracking information, and that the tracking information may comprise any information regarding any use or dissemination of privacy data. Tracking module 130 may store the tracking information in database 110 such that the audit log for the individual consumer may be updated.
Audit module 140 comprises any hardware and/or software suitably configured to allow a user to audit privacy data and interact with the other components of system 100. In one embodiment, audit module 140 may provide a graphical user interface, such as a graphical user interface 200 illustrated in
In operation, privacy service system 100 facilitates monitoring and/or controlling the collection, use and/or dissemination of privacy data.
In addition, the consumer may correct privacy data that is incorrect (380). For example, if the consumer's address is incorrect, the consumer may use the graphical user interface to correct their address and the updated information will be stored in database 110 by audit module 140 (390). Furthermore, audit module 140 may disseminate the corrected privacy data to any appropriate third party entity (395).
It will be appreciated that the present invention may be used for the early detection of various types of identity fraud. For example, the consumer may notice that third party entities, such as merchants, are accessing the consumer's credit card information or other privacy data. If the third party entities are not known to the consumer, then further investigation by consumer may determine that the consumer's privacy data is being used in a fraudulent manner and the consumer can take appropriate action to end the identity fraud before it proceeds any further. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the consumer may use privacy service system 100 to take appropriate actions such as notifying various financial institutions of the identify fraud. Alternatively, privacy service system 100 may automatically take appropriate actions such as notifying financial institutions and the like.
It will be appreciated that many applications of the present invention could be formulated. One skilled in the art will appreciate that network 110 may interface with any system for exchanging data or transacting business, such as the Internet, an intranet, an extranet, WAN, LAN, satellite communications, and/or the like. The users may interact with the system via any input device such as a keyboard, mouse, kiosk, personal digital assistant, handheld computer (e.g., Palm Pilot®), cellular phone and/or the like. Similarly, the invention could be used in conjunction with any type of personal computer, network computer, workstation, minicomputer, mainframe, or the like running any operating system such as any version of Windows, Windows NT, Windows2000, Windows 98, Windows 95, MacOS, OS/2, BeOS, Linux, UNIX, Solaris, Windows XP, or the like. Moreover, although the invention is frequently described herein as being implemented with TCP/IP communications protocols, it will be readily understood that the invention could also be implemented using IPX, Appletalk, IP-6, NetBIOS, OSI or any number of existing or future protocols. Moreover, the system contemplates the use, sale or distribution of any goods, services or information over any network having similar functionality described herein.
In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments. However, it will be appreciated that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. The specification and figures are to be regarded in an illustrative manner, rather than a restrictive one, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of present invention. For example, the steps recited in any of the method or process claims may be executed in any order and are not limited to the order presented.
Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described above with regard to specific embodiments. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all the claims. As used herein, the terms “comprises”, “comprising”, or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. Further, no element described herein is required for the practice of the invention unless expressly described as “essential” or “critical”.
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|U.S. Classification||726/26, 707/999.009|
|International Classification||G06Q30/00, G06F21/00|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S707/99939, G06F2221/2101, G06F21/604, G06Q30/02, G06F21/6272, G06F21/6245|
|European Classification||G06Q30/02, G06F21/62B7, G06F21/62B5, G06F21/60B|
|Oct 30, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL RELATED SERVICES CO., IN,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GLAZER, ELLIOTT;BISHOP, FRED;REEL/FRAME:013446/0743;SIGNING DATES FROM 20021026 TO 20021028
|Sep 29, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Sep 25, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Apr 21, 2014||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: III HOLDINGS 1, LLC, DELAWARE
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL RELATED SERVICES COMPANY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:032722/0746
Effective date: 20140324